Making your home more energy efficient
Residential and commercial buildings account for about 13% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States from burning gas, propane, or oil along with the use of fossil fuel electricity.
One of the biggest steps in making your home more climate friendly is improving heating and cooling services and moving to renewable power sources.
Heating and cooling are the largest source of CO2 emissions in our homes, followed by home lighting and the operation of electrical appliances.
Matt Sharpe, a senior energy consultant at Efficiency Vermont, said, “Space heaters that you plug in or electrical baseboards are one of the more expensive ways to heat your home. If you have a heat pump it is a form of electrical heat that is much more efficient and cuts costs compared to some fossil fuels … ”.
Some cost-saving upgrades include high-efficiency heat pumps, energy-saving appliances, greener insulation, and even LED lighting.
“We have some energy kits that are currently free that have things like light bulbs, low flow shower heads that can get you started,” Sharpe said.
In terms of major changes, switching to solar energy can significantly reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
“The next biggest factor in being climate friendly is where you get your energy from,” said Paul Lesure, president of Green Mountain Solar. He adds, “Solar is one of the best sources of energy we have, even here in cloudy Vermont. What you are doing is not only helping the climate by using solar energy, but also investing in the energy your home uses. ”
There are great incentives for solar energy in the state of Vermont, including the federal tax credit, which is currently set at 26%. However, at the end of 2022, the tax credit will be reduced to 22%. For this reason, Lesure recommends getting on board early to take advantage of these incentives.
As the days get colder and colder, experts recommend starting planning plans now if you want to upgrade your home.
“As with a lot of other trades, contractors doing weathering are very busy and it would be beneficial if you just started the process to get on the list and be ready to make the change,” Sharpe said.